[Talk-us] greenways tagging

Nathaniel V. Kelso nvkelso at gmail.com
Fri Mar 24 01:27:28 UTC 2017

As the editor of the tag in question, and a former resident of this
neighbourhood, I'll offer my perspective.

Tiffany Avenue is is a minor local street that is an important thru way for
bicycles and pedestrians in this neighbourhood and for those traveling from
the south side of the city to the north side. The road's primary use is for
bicycles and it's secondary use is for parking cars and access to just
houses on that street.

For cars it's more like a cul-de-sac: they can get in, but they can't get
out as the north side is blocked off (but there is special connection for
bikes and walkers). Also notice in the Mapillary image the speed hump
traffic calming here. The Mapillary photo doesn't show it but the route has
very high bicycle usage comparable to the car usage.

This road physical different than the surrounding highway=residential
roads, and is culturally designated for bicycle use. So if
highway=residential is not a good fit, and you take issue with
highway=living_street, what's a better tag? Sometimes the same OSM tag has
different meanings in different countries already so it doesn't bother me a
lot that the United States might have a slightly different definition (for
highway=living_street) than Europe because our built environments are

Tiffany Avenue is also San Francisco's only "bike boulevard", while in
Portland and Seattle there are much more extensive officially designated
"bike boulevards". The existing OSM wiki documented tags for bicycle needs
to grow a bit to describe things like bike boulevards, greenwaves, and

One way of tagging this might be bicycle:designated=greenway. Or maybe
bicycle=greenway (and bicycle=greenwave for timed lights). But then we get
into tagging for (older) renderer debates ;)

Peter mentioned the Mapzen bicycle map that I worked on. The better blog
post is: https://mapzen.com/blog/bike-map/.

Part of the reason I've beed editing here (and elsewhere) is we've received
a lot of feedback that the existing OpenStreetMap bicycle tags powering the
bike map aren't matching with people's local knowledge and expectations
(and all 3 of these cities are "well mapped"). I don't have a lot of
opinions here about specific tags, as long as the tags can capture the
ground truth and local expectations.

I created GIST listing out which OpenStreetMap tags the Mapzen bike map is
using to display bike route colors:

Thanks for your feedback!


On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 5:53 PM, Bryan Housel <bryan at 7thposition.com> wrote:

> I agree that that Tiffany Avenue is just a normal street, not a “living
> street”.  Our driver even drove it a few times and you can see it pretty
> clearly on Mapillary.
> https://www.mapillary.com/app/?pKey=Tt-musXAKC5Qpuo7OAjyQA&
> focus=photo&lat=37.74456457237605&lng=-122.42159001944155&z=19.
> 941223418815095
> I have used the living street tag once in the USA, and that is for this
> street which is completely blocked by gates except for a side way in that
> locals know.  I’m sure there are other similar situations around the USA,
> but they are indeed rare.
> http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/11616350#map=18/40.73246/-74.24675
> There is an interesting story behind it:  http://www.nytimes.com/1993/
> 12/06/nyregion/plan-for-gates-call-for-pickets-bordering-
> newark-maplewood-finds-proposal-causes.html
> (sorry, no Mapillary for this one - I should drive over there with cameras
> sometime!)
> Bryan
> On Mar 23, 2017, at 8:26 PM, Peter Dobratz <peter at dobratz.us> wrote:
> I wanted to give a wider audience to this changeset discussion:
> http://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/46967476
> Some Mapzen folks have been changing highway=residential to
> highway=living_street for routes that are designated as "Greenways."
>  There's a related blog post too:
> https://mapzen.com/blog/bike-poll/
> I haven't really seen any roads in the USA that would be similar in nature
> to the living street designation found throughout Europe where kids are
> allowed to play in the street because the cars are required to go walking
> speed.
> --Peter
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